Curated research library of TV news clips regarding the NSA, its oversight and privacy issues, 2009-2014

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Primary curation & research: Robin Chin, Internet Archive TV News Researcher; using TV News Archive service.

Speakers

Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: Our news story is exposing the NSA secret documents as a Google-like search tool (ICReach) to sift through hundreds of billions of communications records from phone calls, e-mails, internet chats, location data from cell phones and virtually every kind of metadata you can think of and more. And not only that, this information has been made accessible to almost two dozen agencies in the United States. Most of them are intelligence community agencies, but among those includes to domestic law enforcement like the FBI and drug enforcement administration. It is a vast scope. It’s much larger than I think what people expected.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: General Alexander was kind of the-- we described him as the kind of mastermind (of ICReach). Because he was the architect behind this. Fascinating details in these documents that go right back to the early 1990's.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: After 9/11, the NSA basically concluded that it had to bolster metadata sharing across the U.S. government because there was a feeling that after 9/11, there was intelligence failures. It failed to prevent the attack and also they were getting slammed for the bad intelligence that led up to the Iraq invasion. And so Alexander's solution was that how he could solve this was to build this gigantic new metadata search system and give analysts right across the government access so they could sift through people's information obviously to identify certain threats and things like that. But obviously when you open a system like that up with all of these records to all of the thousands of analysts, there is a concern there about the possibility for abuse of that.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: For me, there are multiple things that are shocking about it. Mostly, just the vast scale and scope of it, and the kind of brazen way it is described in the documents. There was no, it doesn't really seem like there was any intention to try to restrict, or place limitations on it. It’s all about how much can they share. They want to share as much as possible. And again this kind of feeds into what they described as their collect it all mentality where they just want more and more data. That’s what they think is their solution. For me, I think the scale is shocking. And also the fact that domestic law enforcement are able to tap into this thing with very little oversight and few restrictions. Yeah, I mean, the whole thing is really quite striking.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: We’ve had it confirmed by the NSA that the data that is swept up and stored on this database en masse, is collected using this Reagan-era Presidential order, which is called 12333. This thing is subject to no court oversight from the secret foreign intelligence court and minimal congressional scrutiny.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: Dianne Feinstein, who’s the Chief of the Senate Intelligence Committee, even she’s usually quite a defender of the NSA. She has in the past said that this executive order isn't subject to congressional oversight. And so that’s the authority that is used to put these records on the system and then being funneled across the U.S. intelligence community. So there are huge legal questions about that, the restrictions on it, how it can be used potentially in domestic criminal investigations, secretly by federal agents, and stuff like that. These are questions that people are asking now and we hope are going to be sufficiently addressed by the government in the weeks to come.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: In the early 1990's, the CIA and the DEA, according to the documents, started this program called Criss-Cross. And basically, what they were doing was gathering as much information they could about phone calls in Latin America, and it seems pretty much anywhere. And using that information to go after drug targets, people involved in drug trafficking but very quickly the scope of this thing expanded and by the mid to late 90's, the NSA was involved in it, the FBI was involved in it, the Defense Intelligence Agency was involved in it.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: And they were scaling up again And they built a new system which they called Proton to put on all kinds of new records so it wasn't just your basic phone call stuff. It was location data. They had records from CIA reports and stuff about people's visa applications when traveling overseas -- everything like that. Billions of records. And so that was the kind of precursor to ICReach Program, which again scaled this thing up massively. And they talk about a 12 fold increase. It was something like by the end the, The Proton I believe is still exists today. With about 50 billion or so of these metadata records on it. ICReach is about to contain about 850 Billion or more. So that’s like more than a 12 fold increase in capacity.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: Parallel construction was, some excellent Reuters reporters revealed last year that some federal agents within the drug enforcement administration were using data that had been obtained through covert surveillance and using it to initiate investigations against people inside the United States, American citizens. – but they’re not disclosing (and if there were a Prosecution say?), basically covering up that evidence and inventing a false evidence trail so that the way the surveillance data was obtained can never be challenged in the court. Which to most ordinary people, that seems like a clear subversion of the basic principles of the justice system.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: One of the big issues with the story that we've just put out is that it seems to be a huge part of the jigsaw puzzle in terms of showing where some of the data that is being used in this parallel construction technique by federal agents could be coming from. And indeed, the Reuters reporter who, one of the Reuters reporters who first revealed parallel construction and contacted me to say he thinks this story that we’ve done is hugely significant for that reason, because it is a huge piece of the puzzle that shows how NSA data is ending up in the hands of DEA agents in the United States.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher:(The military ban on viewing The Intercept) This is a continuation of what has happened to Wikileaks in 2010 and then what happened to the guardian last year. The military has this completely absurd policy to just block any public news website that is publishing stories based on classified information. Actually these kind of draconian warnings to their staff that if they dare to read these news reports that they’ll have dire security consequences and all the rest of it.
Ryan Gallagher
Reporter for The Intercept
KCSM 08/28/2014
Gallagher: We know people within the will a military, who are disturbed by this. It is based on a policy the DOD has in place that says you can't view classified information on an unclassified computer until the information is formally declassified. But that kind of policy in the age of Manning and the age of Snowden just is totally archaic and it doesn't fit the modern world. They need to review it because you can have a situation where an intelligence analyst within the government with top security clearance is in a position that he can't read public news reports. Now if that is the case, how can that intelligence analyst whose job is to make sense of the world from inside the government, how can they do that properly if he can't even read news websites? So it is a counterproductive policy that I find personally completely absurd.
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